Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why I do this!

Ok, I got this e-mail from someone who has a large breed dog that is demonstrating obvious signs of arthritis. She brought the dog to her veterinarian who prescribed Rimadyl (carprofen). In order to be diligent, she went to the web to research the drug. So far so good: I encourage people to go to reputable websites to do their research. What's a reputable site? In my opinion, it's one that uses research and fact. Unfortunately, this person went to a website run by someone who had a bad experience with the drug.
Here's some background. When Rimadyl first came out, it was touted as the new wonder drug. And with some good reason: it worked, with very few side effects. Until that time all we had was aspirin. Aspirin was alright, but it made many dogs sick to their stomach, had to be used very cautiously in old dogs (because of the effects on the kidneys) and as we later found out, kills off cells that keep joints healthy. So we started using Rimadyl, in large quantities. However, Rimadyl, like any other drug has potential side effects. Some of the early users just ignored the warnings and gave the drug to dogs that never should have had it. Others got sick for reasons we didn't understand. And the websites popped up. And the lawsuits followed.

Myth #1: Rimadyl is more toxin to Labs. This came out of the initial confusion. Labs are one of the most common breeds to have arthritis in their hips. So more Labs get Rimadyl than let's say Terriers. So if you look at the number of dogs that get sick from Rimadyl by breed, Labs have a much higher representation than terriers.
This study here showed no signs of breed predilection: Vet Rec. March 2007;160(13):427-30

Myth #2 Rimadyl is dangerous. Look, I'm not going to say it's the only choice you have, or even that you should use it for your particular dog. However, the evidence is pretty clear that this drug is safe. A study published in 2003 (J Small Anim Pract. May 2003;44(5):202-8) showed that the chances of Rimadyl causing a problem in about 7.5 out of 10,000 dogs given the drug. the average veterinarian will never even see a true case of Rimadyl reaction.

So please, don';t get your information from one person who had a bad experience with a drug. Get some real information and make an informed decision.

And, by the way, if your dog has arthritis, you should talk to her about J/D from Hill's. It's loaded with fish oils that will help your dog walk better without any drugs. I have 2 dogs that swear by the stuff!

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